Ford Focus RS Geneva Live 19

Remember when the 2016 Ford Focus RS was revealed with a power output merely promised to be over 320 PS? Well, the final figures are out, and it turns out the ultimate Blue Oval hot hatch is quite a bit more powerful than we previously thought.

In fact, the Mustang-derived 2.3 litre EcoBoost four-pot turbo mill is now claimed to churn out a stout 350 PS at 6,800 rpm (pretty much matching the previously-rumoured 350 hp output) and 440 Nm from 2,000-4,500 rpm – European-spec cars can reach a stinking 470 Nm for up to 15 seconds under hard acceleration through a transient overboost function.

To extract that kind of power, the engine has been given a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with a bigger compressor for improved air flow, a significantly larger intercooler to maximise charge density and a less restrictive intake design. A much larger radiator is also fitted (the largest ever equipped to a Focus, in fact) to ensure optimal cooling for full-on circuit driving.

Ford Focus RS Geneva Live 13

The power plant has also been strengthened with an uprated alloy cylinder head to better cope with increased temperatures, along with stronger high-tensile cast iron liners for the block. Also revamped is the six-speed manual transmission, uprated along with the clutch to handle the torque and with a shorter shift action for faster, more accurate shifts.

Power is sent to all four wheels via a Ford Performance AWD with Dynamic Torque Vectoring – twin electronically-controlled clutch pack on either side of the rear drive unit enable 100% of the rear axle torque (up to 70% of overall drive torque) to be shifted side-to-side to either of the rear wheels. The system is claimed to virtually eliminate understeer, and even has a “Drift Mode” to perform controlled oversteer drifts.

Under the skin, there’s a new sports suspension with stiffer spring rates, bushes and anti-roll bars than on the ST, while the two-stage adjustable dampers provide a harder-edged setting for more spirited driving, such as on the track. Finishing it all off is a large-bore exhaust system with an electronically-controlled valve to optimise the balance of back pressure and noise. Distinctive burbles and pops are all part of the experience.

The 2016 Ford Focus RS is set to make an appearance at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed – in the hands of Ken Block, no less – before production is slated to kick off at the end of this year, the first cars hitting showroom floors starting mid-2016. Unlike past models, it will be a global car, making its way to American and Asian markets for the first time.